The Blackhawks season is over after a 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 6 Monday night at the United Center.
Phoenix wins the series 4-2 and advances to play Nashville in the next round.
Without question, the two differences in this series were goaltending and special teams. What can you say about Phoenix goalie Mike Smith? The guy had 39 saves in Game 6, many of them of the spectacular variety. The Hawks outshot Phoenix 39-20 in this game, yet they got blown out of their own barn as the Coyotes netted three goals in the third period to put the game away.
I don't think Hawks goalie Corey Crawford played a horrible series. He was up and down. He let in a couple softies in the overtime sessions of Games 3 and 4. At other times, he was spectacular. But he was nowhere near as consistently good as Smith. The best goaltender in the series won the series.
Then, there was the Hawks' anemic power play, which finished the postseason 1-for-19. The Hawks flubbed two more chances in Game 6, while the Coyotes went 2-for-4. The sad fact is the Hawks couldn't even gain the offensive blue line with the man advantage. Unacceptable when you consider the offensive talent on the roster. Unacceptable when you consider the Hawks had no problems gaining entry into the offensive zone in five-on-five situations.
We'll see what changes the Hawks make over the offseason. We already know they are raising ticket prices for next year. From where I'm sitting, they better raise their level of play too. I have to say, 2010 is over, yet fans are still being charged as if the team is of championship-caliber. It is not. It's time to fix that. Nobody should have to pay $45 per ticket to sit at the top of the United Center and watch a so-so brand of hockey.